You made it, congratulations.
You made it, congratulations.
97 Land Rover DI SD 5 speed- Camel Trophy-esq build
06 Toyota 4Runner (I've got to get to work somehow..)
64 Land Rover Series IIa-88 The origin of the insanity, gone to live on a farm in Virginia.
It's not the destination that matters.
Progress after Day 39 since we left Lubumbashi. Day 44 since we crossed the border into DRC.
Day 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45
We had a lot of things to do in Kinshasa. We did not have a visa yet to get out of the country (Congo-Brazzaville). And to avoid having to drive all the way to Franceville in Gabon we already applied for our Cameroon visa too. Gabon did not want to give us a visa for reasons not really clear to us. We would have to apply for that visa in Brazza. This whole process takes a few days.
Then there was the car. On the road from kikwit to Kinshasa we had noticed our rear differential was leaking again. Problem is the seal and the liquid sealant they use here. Normally there is a rubber gasket, but nobody stocks this gasket in the entire DRC. A lot of differentials here are leaking, that's for sure. We had to buy a sheet of plasticky gasket material and cut one out ourselves. A lengthy task. At the same time we had to get our lights fixed, most of them were smashed up by now. And then there were the brakes that still had to replaced (although I got quite good at driving without brakes now. It's an art in itself!) and it was about time to change all the filters too.
Somehow we managed to engange the most horrible mechanic we have ever met. We actually went to some sort of 'upmarket' workshop as we wanted to get things fixed properly this time. The manager was a nice guy, unfortunatly his chief-mechanic, a Lebanese youngster, was nothing more then a prick. He treated his mechanics as slaves and was uncapable of doing anything useful himself. He 'fixed up' our electrics. He could not find the reason why the fuse of the brake light kept jumping. His solution was to bypass the fuse. He declared it fixed and ofcourse did not tell us he had bypassed that fuse. We almost lost our car to the flames a few days later when a fire started behind the dashboard when the stoplight wiring shorted out again.
It was pretty cool to find some western goods again. We could not really afford much of it, as prices here are prohibitively expensive. Kinshasa ranks high up the list of most expensive cities in the world (right next to Luanda). This is because the country is so unstable that all businesses are high-risk business. Building a house to rent it out? You'd better make sure you get your investment back within a few years time, before the next ransacking starts, or before some official claims your house. Running a business? Better account for all the theft, the bribes, etc and include it in your margin.
When all was done (well.. more or less done) we were ready to hit the road. This little ride in the Congo was quite something, but it was time to explore other regions now.
We drove to 'le beach' the ferryport in Kinshasa. Only to notice that is was remarkebly quiet here. Not the usual bustle that is going on here.
The bac (ferry) was not running. "Problème administratif". We couldn't find out the exact reason, but we were not leaving Kinshasa today!
"Peut-être demain" - "Maybe tomorrow"
The bac to Brazzavile is the only way to get out of Kinshasa and into Congo-Brazzaville.
Last time I was in Brassaville I was armed with 2 AH1W's, 4 CH46's, 2 CH53's, part of 22MEU BLT and my M16A2. This guy is just driving there for an adventure....AWESOME!
"Luck favors the prepared"
'11 JKU/'05 Nismo Frontier
I bet when you got home, you're like, "Now what?"
"We almost lost our car to the flames a few days later when a fire started behind the dashboard when the stoplight wiring shorted out again. "
wow!!! this cant be the end of the story!!
And now for the surprise I promised earlier...
That's right, Frederik and Josephine will be our first featured guests!
If you have any question you would like them to answer, please forward them to me and we'll try to cover it during the presentation.
Martyn, Brian and I have been working hard testing a few platforms and we think we have found an exciting new way to discuss Overland topics.
Great!!! got my ticket i will be eargerly watching!
Frederik & Josephine:
What a great experience! Not that I'd want to do it myself, mind you - that's waaaaay above my level. But I salute your dogged perseverance and your determination. No doubt you continued on when others would have quit.
You guys should seriously think about writing a book. You are a talented writer (especially considering that English is not your first language) and your photos are great. I would buy that book in a heartbeat, and I'll bet I'm not the only one.
Thanks again for sharing your experiences in the Heart of Darkness!
Martin AKA Zapp Branigan KD0PHH
2007 Toyota 4runner SR5, 4.0 V6
Wife's Vehicle: 1995 YJ "Captain Morgan"
And our Homebuilt Teardrop Trailer "Bubbles!"Other Rides: 2008 Triumph Scrambler; 1997 Mazda Protege (Daily Driver)
"I am the Man with No Name - Zapp Branigan!"
We tried again to take the ferry. It was still not running. Some paperwork was not in order to release the ferry and apparantly the official who had to sign the document could not be located. Both ferries were stuck on the other side. Maybe that afternoon.
We came back that afternoon: Nope.
Great news: all the paperwork was done. But today was an official holiday in Congo. Nobody worked that day... so no ferry
We were finally able to board the ferry. We had previously used the other ferry which are three boats attached to eachother (in a rather dodgy way). This time we took the bigger ferry. Bigger did not mean we had more space. As the ferry hadn't run for a few days there was a lot of stuff that needed to get across.
The ferry's diesel engine made a slow rythmic noise and struggled to push the heavy ferry upstream over the Congo river. The skyline of Kinshasa became smaller with every beat.
We had spent 53 days in Congo, and had gotten out just in time. Our visa was expiring in 2 days time.
And thus ends our leisurely stroll trough the Congo..
(Keep reading, wrap-up and more background information still to come)